Artist Callum Innes – ‘I’m Curious About Colour’ | TateShots


I’m Callum Innes. This is my studio in
Edinburgh. This is, you could call it my office space but where I make drawings and watercolours, it’s clean, it’s meant to be tidy, but mainly I make the
watercolours and, as I say, make drawings through here. And as we go through in
here I have the main space I’ll work on. The work in here is not really finished
just now, it’s all in preparation for a show, and the black paintings that you
see are paintings have just been started. They all start off with solid black
paintings and then eventually we take the black off and then while they’re
still wet I will then put a colour through them again and then take take
the colour off. The paintings always pretend to be either geometric and clean
and tidy but this is quite chaotic in the way that I make them, and then round
here paintings that have yet to be decided upon and sometimes it takes
quite a while to look at the painting so we bring these out periodically and have
a look at them and see if they’re actually doing when I think they’re
doing. Over the last 15, I think 15 years, I continually go back to watercolour.
It’s luminosity I can get with the watercolour, or I can achieve at times with watercolour that I can’t I maybe strive to get with oil paintings.
Well, we’re trying to do a watercolour but I’ve got a cold so excuse me if it doesn’t
actually work. So I’m going to put a Delft blue and a translucent orange
together but I need to block in the block first. The trick is trying not to get too many
splatters. With these particular works I mask them
off to start with so I get, this is almost a square but I get a clean edge which I
then break later. I’m going to give it a couple of minutes just to soak, it’s still
wet but not liquid. I’ll just clean my hands. With these particular watercolours
that we’re talking about and are being shown at the Tate, there are always two blocks
of colour and sometimes two opposite colours and you really don’t know when
you put them together exactly what colour you’re going to achieve. I can subtract
colour out of them so you get this very beautiful neutral at times appearing.
It’s not chance I’m almost curious about where you can
go with the colour. This is just some water, it’s just so I get it right. In the way that I make
these watercolours, I don’t make them every day for three weeks, so I maybe make them if, you know, twice a week between the oil painting when things are getting
too dry or whatever. But they do lead from one to another, so you get these
bodies of work and you get these sequences that actually can hang
together quite well. Let’s take a poly-brush now and I’m going to lift as much
as I can out of it to create almost like a neutral. Some pigments bite different than others. Some will remain, some you can almost remove almost the entire colour out of the watercolour. What I’m going to do is just lay another colour across it again. The directness of watercolour is very
unforgiving. If you make a mark the mark stays. You’re working back to
front because you’re working with the lightness of the paper. You can see there’s a slight fault on the paper there where the blue has actually bitten but you don’t know
that’s going to occur. If I can actually get it to do something and have
attention, or even take a language of watercolour painting or watercolour
forward in my head then it’s a successful thing, if it works.

local_offerevent_note October 2, 2019

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